At a time when Maharashtra is reeling under severe drought, the state government has relinquished its right to secure 10 tmc water from Narmada river in neighbouring Gujarat and settled for 5 tmc inst
At a time when Maharashtra is reeling under severe drought, the state government has relinquished its right to secure 10 tmc water from Narmada river in neighbouring Gujarat and settled for 5 tmc instead, citing technical grounds. The Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal order permits Maharashtra a 10 tmc water share; however the government has decided to let go of 5 tmc saying it does not have lifting capacity. Meanwhile, Maharashtra also benefits from a 5 tmc share from the Tapi river.
The matter came to light recently after a RTI query filed by activist Jitendra Ghadge revealed that the governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat had signed an agreement for Narmada water sharing on January 7, 2015, where Maharashtra ceded its right to 10 tmc water and settled for 5 tmc instead. Engineer of Nashik Irrigation Project Circle on April 7, 2015, and executive director of Tapi Irrigation Development Corporation on July 3, 2015, pointed out how Maharashtra had given up its right to 5 tmc of Narmada water.
“As per the executive director’s letter, 10 tmc Narmada water was awarded to Maharashtra by the tribunal so there was no question of reducing our share. This water was supposed to be the right of all farmers in Maharashtra who got displaced by the Sardar Sarovar project. A probe should be ordered as to who changed the agreement clause to 5 tmc instead of 10 tmc,” said Mr Ghadge.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik alleged the state BJP government was working for Gujarat and not Maharashtra. “The BJP government in the state wants to make PM Narendra Modi happy by giving up its share of water,” he said.
Water resources minister Girish Mahajan said, “It was decided that 10.89 tmc water would be lifted from the Narmada but it was technically not possible, so, we have taken 5 tmc water from Narmada and 5 tmc from Tapi,” he said.